Swiss Life moves into renewables fund management with Fontavis buy

Fontavis, which has raised three renewables funds – two of them alongside UBS Asset Management – will operate as an established brand within Swiss Life Asset Managers.

Swiss Life Asset Managers has expanded its infrastructure investment division by buying compatriot renewables fund manager Fontavis.

It is understood Fontavis was not bought by Swiss Life’s infrastructure funds and will add an extra layer to its infrastructure investment capabilities. Swiss Life declined to comment on how the acquisition was financed, although a spokeswoman told Infrastructure Investor that the motivation stemmed from investors keen to meet sustainability objectives, in addition to financial factors.

“Fontavis will support us with the continuing expansion of our portfolio, giving institutional investors easy access to infrastructure investment solutions in the growth market of sustainable energy production, energy efficiency and energy infrastructure,” the spokeswoman added. “Swiss Life Asset Managers and Fontavis complement each other, particularly in the infrastructure investment areas. We want to exploit opportunities for growth in these areas.”

Fontavis manages and co-manages three renewables funds with over SFr1 billion ($1 billion; €997.8 million) under management, as at the end of last month. This includes two funds raised alongside UBS Asset Management and insurance firm Swiss Mobilier, with UBS Clean Energy Infrastructure Switzerland 2 reaching a final SFr472 million close last month.

“Fontavis will continue to operate as an established brand within Swiss Life Asset Managers,” Swiss Life said in a statement. “Its headquarter[s] in Baar will be retained along with all jobs and functions. There will not be any changes in the Fontavis management,” it said.

When asked if Swiss Life plans to continue the fund series, the spokeswoman said “we review all options”.

Fontavis also manages the Fontavis Renewable Infrastructure Fund Europe vehicle, which has a target of €300 million and has received a €100 million commitment from Swiss Life following the deal. Across the funds, Fontavis manages 24 projects or companies and invests in wind, solar, hydropower, energy efficiency and power grids.

Swiss Life’s previous renewable energy investments have come through its global infrastructure fund series and have included solar assets in Canada and Italy and wind projects in the US and UK.